TACOMA, Wash. - Police are now investigating what happened in the hours before a Tacoma special education student was found safe after an Amber Alert search.
Police will only say that the 16-year-old girl was found safe in North Tacoma Wednesday morning about two miles from where she was last seen at a Tacoma bowling alley Tuesday evening.
Authorities said Briana Troyer, who is a student at Wilson High School and a member of its bowling team, had just finished bowling with the team before she walked away from the Tower Lanes bowling alley at about 5:30 p.m. She has a mental age of about 9 years old.
Briana was last seen walking away from the bowling alley with Terrence Darnell Powell, a Level 1 sex offender.
It was surveillance video from inside the bowling alley that helped police find the missing girl.
Police were able to determine it was Powell that she left with and then sent the information to the media.
“We knew that she was last seen with a sex offender, and you know, your mind obviously starts going places you don't want it to go,” said Troyer family spokesman Capt. Brent Bomkamp.
Briana Troyer is the daughter of Pierce County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ed Troyer.
After 13 hours of worry, at 7:45 a.m., Briana Troyer and Terrence Powell were found after a tip officers received led them to a North Tacoma home.
Detectives are still looking into whether there was any sexual contact between the two, which could lead to criminal charges.
"Somebody could come to her and befriend her and she would believe that they had her best interests in mind,” said Bomkamp.
Bomkamp said the Troyer family is concerned that Briana Troyer was able to leave a school-sanctioned event with a random person.
It is not known if the girl was willingly in Powell’s company, what they were doing or if any criminal charges will be filed.
Powell was convicted of communication with a minor for immoral purposes three years ago. He did not serve any time in jail for the offense.
The Level 1 sex offender designation is for someone who is deemed to be unlikely to re-offend.